Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Zinc KO's Prozac in the fight against depression

Zinc is an essential mineral that can cause depression when it is deficient. In a recent study, scientists produced depression in a population of rats by creating a zinc deficiency. They went one step further and tried to reverse the depression with an antidepressant. Turns out, the rats did not respond to the medication.

Makes me wonder about another relationship. The fact that medical schools often give as little as one hour of nutrition to medical students in a four year curriculum. Could that be why, the first thing physicians think of when a patient is depressed, is to use the therapy on which semester-long courses are created, rather than to recommend something mentioned in passing in that long lost hour?

If you want to do something about your own zinc intake, remember that the highest levels of the best absorbed kind of zinc is found in protein-based choices such as beef, lamb, pork, crabmeat, turkey, chicken, lobster, clams and salmon. If you're vegan, your best bets are milk and cheese, yeast, peanuts, beans, and wholegrain cereals, brown rice, whole wheat bread, potato and yogurt.

Interestingly, pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc. I keep running across pumpkin seeds for a lot of different pieces I'm writing these days. They just might be one of those foods you should never let yourself run out of. Trail mix, anyone?

Tassabehji NM, Corniola RS, Alshingiti A, Levenson CW. Zinc deficiency induces depression-like symptoms in adult rats. Physiol Behav. 2008 Oct 20;95(3):365-9. Epub 2008 Jul 3.

No comments: